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After 131 Years, PepsiCo Is Dropping Aunt Jemima,


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May 19, 2020
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After 131 Years, PepsiCo Is Dropping Aunt Jemima

Details are not yet available on the new brand name or packaging

ByLisa Lacy
2 hours ago

PepsiCo said it will drop the image of Aunt Jemima and rebrand the line of pancake mix and syrup that has borne the name since 1889.

The parent of Quaker Oats Company, which has owned the brand since 1926, did not specify what the new name will be or what the updated packaging will look like.

“We are starting by removing the image and changing the name,” said Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, in a statement. “We will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from both our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand and make it one everyone can be proud to have in their pantry.”

PepsiCo said consumers will start to see the packaging changes without the Aunt Jemima image in the fourth quarter this year and that the name change will be announced at a later date.

The decision comes at a time of reckoning for many brands in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 and the ensuing protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kroepfl added. “While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough.”

Aunt Jemima is among three remaining brand mascots rooted in nostalgia for slavery. Aunt Jemima synonymous with the mammy stereotype popularized in minstrel shows after the Civil War, according to Marilyn Kern-Foxworth, author of Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Rastus: Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. According to a time line on AuntJemima.com, the character was first portrayed in 1890 by Nancy Green, “a storyteller, cook and missionary worker.” The time line also notes the character was given “a contemporary look [with] pearl earrings and a lace collar” in 1989.

According to PepsiCo, the rebrand is intended to help the brand “[evolve] over time with the goal of representing loving moms from diverse backgrounds who want the best for their families.”

But, Kroepfl said, “We acknowledge the brand has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the confidence, warmth and dignity that we would like it to stand for today.”

It’s a big change for Quaker and PepsiCo, which were previously reluctant to institute change.

In 2017, for example, Dan Gasby, partner of restaurateur, cookbook author and lifestyle guru B. Smith, petitioned PepsiCo to eliminate the brand name and mascot in a Change.org campaign called Set Her Free. According to Gasby, PepsiCo said Aunt Jemima was wholesome, and they didn’t feel the need to change the brand.

“I will debate anyone at that company about the value of something called Aunt Jemima in 2020,” Gasby said in an April 2020 interview. “This is not 1820 or 1920. When you talk about stereotyping and profiling, you can take the bandana off her head, but the historical significance of Aunt Jemima is terrible.”

PepsiCo said the Aunt Jemima brand will donate a minimum of $5 million over the next five years to “create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.”

The news follows PepsiCo CEO and chairman Ramon Laguarta’s announcement the CPG giant is pledging $400 million for initiatives on racial justice and equality. It also follows dairy brand Land O’Lakes’ decision to eliminate another longtime mascot based on a racial stereotype earlier this year.
The racial stereotype of black people eating pancakes? Never heard of that one before, it’s not like it was a life jacket brand. :laughing:

So they put Little Debbie on there and now their pancakes are racist and only for fat white people?

This seems like a bunch of the other ones, struggling brands trying to get press and stay relevant.
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A history of Aunt Jemina


Aunt Jemima: It was Never About the Pancakes

It is nearly impossible to have grown up in America and not be familiar with Aunt Jemima. However, when thinking of Aunt Jemima, people often associate a person to the name not the pancakes. Before Aunt Jemima came to be an American icon, an initial interest needed to be established. This is the story of the woman who became a food, that became a product, which became one of the most recognizable figures in history: Aunt Jemima.

Aunt Jemima was first introduced as a character in a minstrel show – an American form of entertainment developed in the late 19th century. Each show consisted of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music. The shows were performed by white people in blackface for the purpose of playing the roles of black people.

Minstrel shows portrayed black people as dimwitted, lazy, easily frightened, chronically idle, superstitious, happy-go-lucky buffoons.

The inspiration for Aunt Jemima came specifically from the song “Old Aunt Jemima” written by a black performer named Billy Kersands in 1875. It was a staple of the minstrel circuit. The song was based on a song sung by slave hands. “Old Aunt Jemima” was performed by men in blackface. One of the men depicted Aunt Jemima – a Slave Mammy of the Plantation South.

The lyrics tell of the promise to be set free yet remaining a slave forever. “My old missus promise me . . .When she died she-d set me free . . . She lived so long her head got bald . . . She swore she would not die at all . . .”

While the lyrics depicted a reality, Aunt Jemima did not. There was a big difference between the stage Mammy and the actual female household slave. In fact, many argue that the Slave Mammy that became the stereotype never actually existed. Well-known New York blogger, Julian Abagond had this to say:

“The Mammy pictured female household slaves as: fat, middle-aged, dark-skinned, undesirable . . . happy to serve whites, always smiling . . . The ugly truth is that they were: thin . . . young . . . light-skinned, a daughter of rape; desirable to white men and therefore raped, utterly powerless, extremely unhappy . . .”

The Mammy was created by white Southerners to redeem the relationship between black women and white men within slave society. Slave owners sexually exploited and abused their female slaves. Catherine Clinton’s book The Plantation Mistress: Woman’s World in the Old South, notes that “Mammy was made to appear unattractive so no white man could want her over his white wife therefore ‘proving’ that white men did not find black women sexually desirable.” She was also proof that black women were happy as slaves. The Mammy helped put to rest any worries white people may have had around her, or women who looked like her.

Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix began in 1889 when two speculators, Chris Rutt and Charles Underwood, bought a flour mill. Together they developed the idea of a self-rising flour that only needed water. Initially, it was called ‘Self-Rising Pancake Flour’. Rutt was inspired to rename the mix after attending a minstrel show, featuring “Aunt Jemima.” Rutt decided to use the name and the image of Aunt Jemima to promote his new pancake mix. However, Rutt and Underwood were unable to make the product a success and in 1890 they sold the business to the Davis Milling Company. The Davis Milling Company developed an advertising plan to use a real person to portray Aunt Jemima. The woman they found was Nancy Green.

Nancy Green was born a slave in Kentucky in 1834.

In 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation set slaves free and Green moved to Chicago after the Civil War. There she worked for the Walker family as a domestic servant. It was the Walkers who brought Green to the Davis Milling Company to audition for Aunt Jemima. She was 56 at the time. Nancy Green debuted as Aunt Jemima at the 1893 World’s Exposition in Chicago. The Davis Milling Company constructed the world’s largest flour barrel to grab people’s attention. Then they put Nancy Green on display (much like the flour) and gave her an act. She dressed as Aunt Jemima, sang songs, cooked pancakes, and told romanticized stories about the Old South – a happy place for blacks and whites alike, now accessible only by nostalgia, or by buying Aunt Jemima’s pancake recipe.

Green was a huge success. Her booth attracted so many people that special policemen were assigned to keep the crowds moving. The Davis Milling Company received over 50,000 orders, and the fair officials awarded Green a medal and certificate for her showmanship. After the Expo, Green signed a lifetime contract with the company and traveled on promotional tours across the country. By 1910 more than 120 million Aunt Jemima breakfasts were being served annually, roughly equal to the population of the country. Green as Aunt Jemima was so successful that in 1914 the company renamed itself, ‘The Aunt Jemima Mills Company.’

The Davis Milling Company’s marketing plan was brilliant. They delivered their customers something they had always wanted but could never have: a ‘real life Mammy’. Along with the pancake mix, pamphlets were given out telling Aunt Jemima’s ‘life story’. According to the pamphlet, she had been the house slave of Colonel Higbee, whose plantation was known across the South for its delicious pancakes. After the war the Davis Milling Company, who had heard of the pancakes, paid Aunt Jemima in gold to share with them her secret recipe. That was the kind of feel-good story people wanted to hold onto. And with the pamphlet and Aunt Jemima’s famous pancake mix, they could.

Aunt Jemima’s ‘secret’ pancake recipe was nothing more than wheat ?our, corn ?our, lime phosphate, and salt. But that wasn’t important. The Davis Milling Company weren’t selling pancakes; they were selling The Mammy fantasy. The only ingredient that really mattered was Aunt Jemima.

The Aunt Jemima fable formed the background for decades of future advertising. Davis hired James Webb Young to create advertisements featuring Aunt Jemima. Young teamed up with N. C. Wyeth, a well-known painter and illustrator. Billboards were displayed with Nancy Green’s image and the caption, “I’se in town, honey.” The ads became popular in 1910 but it was in the 1920s and 1930s that the Aunt Jemima ads reached the height of their fame.

The full-page color advertisements ran regularly in Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and The Saturday Evening Post and told tales of the leisure and splendor of the Plantation South. Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix, a labor-saving product, was marketed with comparisons to a time and place when some American white women had the ultimate labor-saving device: a slave. A line from a 1927 ad read: “Make them with Aunt Jemima Pancake Flour, and your family will ask where you got your wonderful Southern Cook.” Or, just another way to say, “Your family will ask where you purchased a Slave Mammy such as this.” Slavery, and moreover, the fantasy of having slaves, was still the main attraction of the Aunt Jemima brand.

No one portrayed Aunt Jemima for ten years following the death of Nancy Green in 1923. Then in 1933, the Quaker Oats Company (which had acquired the company in 1926) hired Anna Robinson to play Aunt Jemima at the Chicago World’s Fair. At 350 pounds, she was much heavier than Green and she was darker in complexion. The Quaker Oats Company loved her look and she was sent to New York to pose for pictures. An entire campaign was designed around Robinson as Aunt Jemima and her association with celebrities. She had personal appearances and was photographed at some of the most famous places making pancakes for Hollywood royalty, radio personalities, and Broadway stars. The advertisements derived from those photography sessions “ranked among the highest read of their time”

Ironically, out of all the celebrities she posed with, none were more famous than Robinson herself. But Robinson wasn’t famous for being their peer; she was famous for being Aunt Jemima, their slave.

Having celebrities pose with Robinson brought the Aunt Jemima brand more sales and success than ever before. People have always wanted what celebrities have. Be it a designer dress, a car, or the ultimate status symbol: a Mammy.

In the first half of the 1900’s the Mammy was increasingly popular and was featured in a multitude of films, radio programs, and television shows. But no Mammy was more popular than Aunt Jemima.

The 1934 movie Imitation of Life told the story of a Mammy, Aunt Delilah, who inherited a pancake recipe. She gave the valuable recipe to Miss Bea, her boss who successfully marketed the recipe (‘Imitation of Life’).

THere is more follow the link if you are interested
I'll hold onto a couple boxes and in a few years Ebay them to the hipsters as retro or "vintage" :grinpimp:

Modern problems require modern solutions...
How she lasted this long in today's culture is shocking all on its own.
This needs to stop...there was something this week locally where a group on facebook wanted to rename the city because of some history of the name of the guy or something had to do with colonialism. It hit the news, usual articles with councilors opinions on it and such, blah blah blah. I did some digging and found the group, it had 9, yes NINE members. Nine out of a half a million people and they actually listened to them. Load of shit if you ask me.
I wonder when the silent majority of this country will stand up and say enough is enough. Just heard on the news last night that OSU football coach, Mike Gundy, had to come out and give a public apology because of a shirt he wore. He got called out on Twitter over it by his top running back. Said he was not going to participate in football. Team had his back. Gundy had to proclaim how educated he had become in the last couple days and he has now seen the error of his ways. He must be fuming. It has got to be embarrassing and humiliating to hold a press conference to tell the world how stupid you were, but you have now seen the light and you are a changed man. Just to keep your job....for now.
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It’s the beginning of the end...

In 20 years when all the snowflakes grow the fuck up they will wonder WTF were they thinking.


I think I’ll live like Gunny in Shooter and be that Peckerwood that lives in the woods with too many guns.
They change that product due to racial insensitivity, yet they're not changing "Quaker Oats"?? Logic does not track.
They change that product due to racial insensitivity, yet they're not changing "Quaker Oats"?? Logic does not track.

Scotch Tape is actually based on the stereotype that Scots are frugal or parsimonious.

It’s going to get a lot worse before it ever gets any better.
Scotch Tape is actually based on the stereotype that Scots are frugal or parsimonious.


I always thought it was in reference to them having sticky hands :flipoff2:
This whole movement is bullshit. Are all the people with the last name of “White” or “Black” going to have to change their name.
I find it strange no one has messed with KFC or Popeye's yet. 🤔

Well the Colonel was a real guy who figured out how to cook chicken fast for travelers, and he really looked and dressed like that. Not a stereotype. I dont think Popeyes even has a character to criticize. But who knows, the CEO could announce something that is then taken out of context and all the popeyes locations mysteriously burn to the ground. Never know these days.
So now they are removing black characters, but I thought they wanted more blacks in media and press, so somehow removing them is now the inclusive thing to do? Hahahahahahaha what fucking idiotsa.
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